Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida routs Vanderbilt, clinches SEC

GAINESVILLE — On Monday, it was Billy Donovan's call. Wednesday night, the decision over whether to cut down the nets in traditional celebratory fashion rested solely with his Florida seniors.

So when the No. 11 Gators had secured a 66-40 win over Vanderbilt to earn their second outright SEC regular-season championship in three seasons, the seniors made the call.

"After the game he asked us what we wanted to do, and obviously we said we wanted to cut down the nets," said senior forward Erik Murphy, who had 10 points and six rebounds. "It was one of the best feelings I've ever had."

Along with senior Mike Rosario, it was Murphy and Kenny Boynton who took down the last pieces — a fitting final act in their last appearance at the O'Connell Center before a crowd of 10,504

"We just told each other we did it," said Boynton, who had a game-high 15 points. "It was a goal we set at the beginning of the season, to accomplish it, that just felt really special."

Florida (24-5, 14-3 SEC) clinched its fourth outright league title in school history, the third under Donovan. The Gators finished undefeated at home (15-0) for the second time under Donovan. UF visits Kentucky on Saturday, then the SEC tournament starts March 13.

Perhaps it was the emotions surrounding Senior Night, but the Gators seemed out of synch until midway through the second half, when a 3-pointer by Tampa's Michael Frazier with 11:38 remaining in the game gave UF a huge boost. On Florida's next possession, Boynton hit a 3-pointer that began a 13-0 run to give the Gators a 56-32 lead.

While the Gators struggled on offense, their defense was solid. The Commodores (13-16, 7-10) scored just 10 in the final 11:20 and shot 26.9 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range. They're the 12th team to fail to score 50 against UF this season.

Kendren Johnson led Vanderbilt with 15 points.

Donovan said he was thrilled for his seniors because "a lot of times on Senior Night, it doesn't quite end like that: You go undefeated at home your senior year, you clinch a conference championship outright, and you walk off the court with an opportunity to cut down the nets."

"I definitely think we've really overachieved this year, there's no question in my mind," Donovan added. "We've battled lot of injuries, and I don't think you're going to look out there and see three lottery picks. We've done it by being a good team."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Florida routs Vanderbilt, clinches SEC 03/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC

    Bucs

    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  2. Tragedy, tenacity helped shape Ridgewood valedictorian Johannah Cummines

    Volleyball Preps

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Even if her daily routine didn't permit calories to melt off, Johannah Cummines would deserve to pick anything on the menu.

    Ridgewood High senior Johannah Cummines and mom Chenell. Cummines is headed to Florida Atlantic, where she will play beach volleyball. (Photo courtesy of Johannah Cummines)
  3. Bucs Roberto Aguayo kicks off 2017 on the wrong foot

    Blogs

    The goal posts still seem to be moving for Roberto Aguayo.

    The Bucs woebegone place-kicker, who is in a battle with veteran Nick Folk, went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights, the first day of full squad Organized Team Activities.

    If that weren’t …

    Roberto Aguayo went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights.
  4. Rays morning after: Are cold bats a sign of things to come?

    Blogs

    How does an offense that has ranked among the most productive in the league for seven weeks go so cold?

    Steven Souza Jr. extended his weeks-long skid to 8-for-67.
  5. Calvary Christian takes strong lineup, defense to state baseball tournament

    Baseballpreps

    CLEARWATER — No matter what happens in Friday's Class 4A state semifinal against Delray Beach American Heritage, Calvary Christian has already had a historic season. The unbeaten Warriors have won 28 games and qualified for the school's first state baseball tournament.

    The addition of Nolan Hudi to the rotation made a difference, said Calvary Christian coach Greg Olsen. “It was huge.”